Nursing Agency Accused Of Homophobia

Gay man seeks redress at Employment Tribunal.


London – 13 December 2005

A.Z., a 34-year old gay man, is taking the London-based Corporate Nursing Agency to an Employment Tribunal, alleging “discrimination, harassment, denial of training and dismissal on grounds of his sexual orientation.”

Full details of his claim follow below.

The case is being heard before Watford Employment Tribunal from 12 to 16 December 2005. Mr Z. is represented by Mr Beyzade M Beyzade. He is backed by the lesbian and gay human rights group OutRage!.

“Mr Z. has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist with depression and panic attack disorder, which he says was bought on by homophobic victimisation at the Corporate Nursing Agency,” said Peter Tatchell of OutRage!.

“Mr Z. is an Algerian national who fled to Britain to escape religious fundamentalists who were terrorising gay men. He expected to find freedom from victimisation in this country. He was granted leave to remain in the UK and had been living here happily until he began experiencing problems at the nursing agency.

“These allegations concern homophobic harassment and discrimination, which continue to be tolerated by many companies.

“Some employers seem unaware that homophobic harassment and discrimination is illegal and that they can be held liable for the homophobic behaviour of their employees.

“This is another important case under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

“We are supporting Mr Z. and his barrister. It is vital that lesbian and gay employees challenge and secure redress for homophobic victimisation in the workplace.

“Our aim is to ensure that every employee operates in a workplace environment that accepts and respects its gay staff,” said Mr Tatchell.

Background briefing

A summary of the allegations:

The Claimant (Mr Z.) was employed by “Corporate Nursing Agency” which has offices in Edmonton, London and Sawbridgworth for a period short of one year between July 2003 and July 2004.

Staff had begun to discuss the issue of homosexuality with him in a disapproving manner from early 2004.

In March 2004, it is alleged that his employer confronted him about some photos that he had in his possession. One photo was naked covering in part his genitals and the other was fully clothed.

The Claimant states that these photos could only be obtained from his account on a popular gay online dating service (Gaydar).

The employer allegedly asked for these photos to be displayed on a computer screen in front of other office staff. The other staff were allegedly giggling and commenting. The photos apparently were later faxed to the other branch of the company by staff.

The Claimant also believes that office staff had accessed his Hotmail account and MSN Messenger account. They allegedly used his MSN Messenger account to communicate with his online contacts and impersonate him. Staff are said to have been constantly giggling, commenting, making camp gestures and enquiring about the Claimant’s sexual orientation and activities.

The two directors allegedly victimised and treated him in a degrading manner, and the Claimant believes that one of them prayed at the office in order to exorcise the area. The staff and two directors were, according to the Claimant, creating an intimidating, hostile and degrading environment for the Claimant until he was finally dismissed in July 2004.

He was dismissed in July 2004 and according to the Respondent this was due to a company review. Since then, he says he has received intimidating and threatening emails, purportedly from the company and/or an employee of the company.

The Claimant alleges that other staff were constantly using the internet for personal reasons such as looking up heterosexual pornography and no issue was ever made of this. He says he submitted two grievances regarding what happened but he says he has received no response.

The Claimant claims discrimination, harassment, denial of training and dismissal on grounds of his sexual orientation.

The case is due to be heard before Watford Employment Tribunal over five days between the dates of 12-16 December 2005. He will be represented by Mr Beyzade M Beyzade.